Knowledge of the structure and dynamics of near-natural mixed forests is a key factor for ecologically oriented management of forest ecosystems. The development of these model forests mostly takes place continually without any pronounced disturbances. Natural regeneration can be locally limited by ungulate browsing. The paper was focused on the structure and development of forest stands with emphasis on natural regeneration in relation to ungulates in Černý důl Nature Reserve and Trčkov National Nature Reserve situated in the Orlické hory Mts., Czech Republic. The case study was conducted in a spruce-beech-fir forest stand on four permanent research plots (PRP) of 0.25 ha in size. PRP are situated in the same stand and in comparable site and stand conditions, but two PRP has been protected against game by fencing since 1985-1989. The stand volume ranged from 478 to 565 m3 ha−1 in age 143 - 156 year. The results showed that the diversity of tree layer was higher by 19.8% (48.0% in species richness) in the stands protected by fence. In the phase of natural regeneration, the species composition, stand structure and number of recruits were poorer on unfenced PRP (7,990 recruits ha−1) compared to fenced PRP (13,160 recruits ha−1). Admixed silver fir and rowan were completely eliminated by browsing (to 94 - 100% of individuals). Growth analyses statistically confirmed that ungulates were a significant limiting factor for successful forest development (P < 0.001).
Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) and silver fir (Abies alba Mill.) are main tree species of Central Europe that are currently highly vulnerable in times of global climate change. The research deals with the effect of climate and air pollution on radial growth of silver fir and Norway spruce in mixed age-varied (56 – 146 years) forests in the Jeseníky Protected Landscape Area, the Czech Republic. The objectives were to evaluate biodiversity, structure and production, specifically interaction of radial growth of fir and spruce to air pollution (SO2, NOX, tropospheric ozone) and climatic factors (precipitation, air temperature). Concentration of SO2 and NOX had negative effect on radial growth of fir, while radial growth of spruce was more negatively influenced by tropospheric ozone. Fir showed higher variability in radial growth and was more sensitive to climatic factors compared to spruce. On the other hand, fir was relatively adaptable tree species that regenerated very well when the pressure of stress factors subsided (air pollution load, Caucasian bark beetle, frost damage). Low temperature was a limiting factor of radial growth in the study mountainous area, especially for fir. Fir was significantly sensitive to late frost, respectively, spruce to winter desiccation and spring droughts with synergism of air pollution load. Generally, older forest stands were more negatively influenced by air pollution load and climatic extremes compared to young trees.
The paper presents the results of the study of the current and simulated structure of beech forests in the Lány game preserve, which is situated in the Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Area in the Czech Republic. The research was conducted at two permanent research plots (PRP) of 0.25 ha in size in a mature beech forest using the FieldMap technology. Typological, soil and phytocoenological stand characteristics and the history of management of both PRP are comparable; however, they differ in the protection against wildlife. The results demonstrated that deer species including red deer (Cervus elaphus L. - 300 head), sika deer (Cervus nippon nippon Temm. - 300 head), mouflon (Ovis musimon Pallas - 250 head) and fallow deer (Dama dama L. - 300 head) is a limiting factor for successful development of natural regeneration of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.). Natural regeneration on PRP 1 with wild boar herd (Sus scrofa L. - 150 head) is sufficient in relation to site and stand conditions. On the contrary, there is no regeneration on PRP 2 with the occurrence of deer species. The results of biometric measurements and subsequent predictions by the SIBYLA forest biodynamics simulator indicate that the stands are insignificantly structured, mature, productive beech stands with the absence of individuals in the lower tree layer.
The structure and health status of waterlogged or peaty spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) forests in the summit parts of the Krkonoše Mts. in the Czech Republic were studied in 1979–2014. The objective was to evaluate the stand structure, dead wood, trend of the health status and productivity on four permanent research plots (PRP) in relation to air pollution (SO2 and NOx concentrations) and climatic conditions (temperatures and precipitation amounts). Stand structure was evaluated on the base of the measured parameters of individual trees on PRP. The health status of trees was evaluated according to foliage, and their vitality was assessed according to their radial growth documented by dendrochronological analyses. The radial growth was negatively correlated with SO2 and NOx concentrations. Stand dynamics during the observation period was characterised by increased tree mortality, the presence of dead wood and reduction of stand density from 1983 to 1992, while the most severe impairment of health status and stand stability occurred in 1982–1987. The foliage mass of living trees has been gradually increasing since 1988, but no pronounced improvement of tree vitality was documented after the decrease in SO2 concentration. However, particularly physiologically weakened spruce trees were attacked by the European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus). The process of forest damage is manifested not only by foliage reduction but also by symptoms of various necroses on the assimilatory organs. In terms of climatic data, the weather in April had the most important effect on radial growth. Diameter increment showed positive statistically significant correlation with temperature in growing season, but the precipitation effect was low.
The negative effect of air pollution on mountain spruce stands culminated in the 70s – 90s of the 20th century, when an extensive dieback and disturbance of stands occurred in the Krkonoše Mts., the Czech Republic. Dendrochronological analysis was used on ten permanent research plots established in 1976–1980 to document the dynamics of radial increment of Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.). The objective was to determine the effect of SO2, NOX and O3 concentrations and precipitation and temperatures on spruce radial growth in climax forests, waterlogged forests and cultivated forests. The results document the strong depression of diameter increment in the period 1979–1991 caused by synergism of climatic extremes and high SO2 pollution in the 80s and 90s of the 20th century. After 2000 climate had prevailing effect on radial growth. Spruce increment was in positive correlation with temperature, particularly with temperature in the growing season and annual temperature of the current year. In general, temperature had a more significant effect on increment than precipitation, mainly in climax and peaty spruce stands. Diameter increment was in significant negative correlation with SO2 and NOX concentrations in all types of stands. Overall, peaty spruce stands were the most vulnerable to air pollution stress. Low radial increments were caused also by climate extremes, historically by strong frosts and winter desiccation in early spring, nowadays in time of climatic changes by extreme drought. Spruce stands have the ability of quickly responding by tree-ring width to both negative and positive impulses related with air pollution and climate.
Long-term temporal development of beech stands in relation to climatic conditions is well documented by dendrochronological analyses. The study aims to identify and describe growth factors affecting natural European beech stands (Fagus sylvatica L.) on permanent research plots in the eastern Krkonoše Mountains, the Czech Republic. The paper focus on radial growth dynamics, frequency and cyclicity, and the effect of climatic factors on diameter increment of beech stands since 1850. The growth development of beech stands was significantly affected by air pollution load in 1977–1989, and increasingly frequent climate extremes in recent years (since 2010). Periodic increment events recurred in approximately 10–18 years’ periods. Stands on research plots responded differently to climatic factors, the main limiting factor being low temperatures during the growing season, frost damages and extreme droughts. The positive influence of temperatures on beech increments was recorded in winter, early spring, and especially in July and August of the current year. Conversely, precipitation in the previous year had higher impact on radial increment, with prevailing negative correlation. The plots were negatively affected by the decrease in sum of precipitation in February and March, but it was the temperature that influenced the beech increment most significantly. Dendrochronological analysis of close-to-nature beech stands provides valuable information on radial forest growth in response to changing climatic conditions.
Land reclamation of post-mining sites strongly influences not only diversity and biomass of frequently studied ground vegetation, but also diversity of forest ecosystem. In most cases, spoil heaps are afforested after coal mining, but some reclaimed sites are left to spontaneous development, such as our study locality – surroundings of the Sokolov town, Czech Republic. Structure, species diversity and production potential were studied on three heap sites, artificially afforested by pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.), black alder (Alnus glutinosa [L.] Gaertn) and silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) stands, and compared with three permanent research plots (PRP) left to natural succession processes with prevailing European aspen (Populus tremula L.), goat willow (Salix caprea L.) and also with silver birch. The timber production increased from the willow stand (28 m3 ha−1) to birch ones (97 m3 ha−1, all 45 years old). The mean stand volumes were significantly higher on afforested PRPs (74 m3 ha−1) than on succession PRPs (51 m3 ha−1), just as tree diameters. However, in terms of production quality, occurrence of breaks was significantly higher on afforested PRPs (15%) compared to succession PRPs (7%), while the opposite situation was observed in the stem quality. Horizontal structure of trees was regular on afforested PRPs, while spatial pattern on succession PRPs was aggregated. The highest differences in favor of succession PRPs was found in species richness and total stand diversity. These results imply a need for combined approaches in post-mining landscape management to support economic benefit and especially ecological value.
In time of climate change, close-to-nature silviculture is growing in importance as a tool for future forest management. The paper study the tree layer and natural regeneration of monospecific Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.), trough mixed spruce-beech to dominant European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forests in Jizerské hory Mts., the Czech Republic. In the locality, shelterwood and selection system have been applied since 2000. The research objectives were to evaluate production parameters, structural diversity, species richness, natural regeneration dynamics and radial growth of individual tree species in relation to climatic factors and air pollution. The stand volume on permanent research plots amounted to 441 – 731 m3 ha−1 in initial stage of transformation. Natural regeneration showed high expansion of beech and decrease of spruce compared to mature tree species composition. Radial growth of spruce was in significant negative correlation with SO2 and NOX concentrations compared to no effect on beech increment. Moreover, spruce was more sensitive to significant years with extreme low radial growth. Beech was more stable in radial growth. Spruce was more resistant to air pollution and climatic stress in mixed stands. Low temperature was limiting factor of radial growth together with climate extremes (such as strong frosts and more frequent droughts) and biotic factors (bark beetle, beech scale). Close-to-nature management supporting admixed tree species should lead in future to diversification of stand structure toward higher species, spatial and age structure to mitigate negative effect of climatic change.
The paper deals with development of the natural regeneration of even-aged spruce-beech forests during their transformation to uneven-aged stands with diversified structure at the Jedlový důl area in the Protected Landscape Area Jizerské hory Mts., Czech Republic. Shelterwood management system and free felling policy based on selection principles has been applied there since 1979 with the support of admixed tree species of the natural species composition, especially silver fir (Abies alba Mill.). The research was focuses on structure and development of natural regeneration with the emphasis on ungulate damage and interaction with tree layer from 1979 to 2015. In the course of 36 years, the regeneration structure was diversified towards the close-to-nature tree species composition, spatial and age structure. The number of regeneration recruits increased in average from 941 to 41,669 ind ha-1. During this period share of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) significantly (p < 0.01) increased (by 53.6%), while the share of Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) decreased (by 51.5%), such as damage caused by ungulate (by 61.4%) with the highest loses on sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.) and silver fir. Moreover, the parent trees had a significant negative influence on natural regeneration at smaller spacing (within a 1 - 5 m radius from the stem). Both, regeneration potential and effective role of the tree layer during the forest transformation has been confirmed as important prerequisites for ongoing forest transformation.
The spatial pattern of forest closely affects tree competition that drives the most of processes in forest ecosystems. Therefore, we focused on evaluation of the horizontal structure of high forest, coppice with standards and low forest in hornbeam-oak forests in the Protected Landscape Area Český kras (Czech Republic). The horizontal structure of tree layer individuals with crown projection centroids and natural regeneration was analysed for durmast oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.), European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus L.) and small-leaved linden (Tilia cordata Mill.) stands. Horizontal structure of the tree stems of the studied tree species in high forest was random, in oak it was moderately regular. In coppice with standards it was random in oak, in hornbeam and linden it was aggregated within 3 – 5 m and random up to a larger spacing. In low forest at a distance of 4 – 6 m the horizontal structure of the three studied tree species was aggregated while it was random at a larger spacing. The horizontal structure of natural regeneration was aggregated in all forest types. In coppice with standards and high forest, parent stand had significant negative effect on the natural regeneration at smaller distance (to 1.4 m from the stem). Crown centroids were more regularly distributed than tree stems, especially in low forest (2.0 m) and in linden (2.3 m). Our results contribute to existing knowledge about silvicultural systems and their impact on hornbeam-oak forests with implications for forest management and nature protection.